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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 27, 2013 10:00am-11:00am PST

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ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," more than half a century after refusing to give up her seat on a montgomery, alabama bus, the civil rights pioneer, rosa parks makes history again becoming the first african-american woman to have a statue in the capital. >> rosa parks singular act of disobedience launched a movement. the tired feet of those who walked the roads of montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind. >> at the same time, across the way at the supreme court, conservative justices signal the landmark 1965 voting rights act may have outlived its time.
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veterans say it's still critical. >> there's still forces in this country that want to take us back to another period. we are not going back. we have come too far. we made too much progress to go back. in rome today, a farewell message from the pope as 150,000 people packed st. peter's square to witness history before pope benedict steps down tomorrow. tackling gun violence. the father of a sandy hook victim. >> it's hard to be here to talk about my son, but i have to. i'm his voice. i'm not here for the sympathy and a pat on the back as many people stated down in newtown. i'm here to speak up for my son.
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at the pentagon, chuck hagel finally takes over as defense chief. >> i will do everything in my power to be the kind of leader that you expect and you deserve. also, the kind of leader the country expects and deserves. john kerry takes paris. [ speaking foreign language ] >> not bad at all. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington in english today. the historic voting rights act could be in danger as a number of supreme court justices
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overturned the 1965 law. nbcs justice correspondent pete williams joins me now from the supreme court. pete, from the arguments today, what is your impression of what way the court might be moving? >> well, you know, the court didn't come with a blank slate. four years ago, the court looked at the same question and laid down a marker. we were watching to see if the justices that were skeptical then changed their mind? the answer is no. five votes to strike down a key part of the voting rights act. it's a law that requires states with a history of discrimination to get permission before they make changes in how they change their elections. strike down a companion part of which states are covered by the law. they think it's out of date. chief roberts asked which state
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has the worst record in registering and turnouts of african-americans? answer he said, massachusetts, mississippi is best. at another point he said to the solicitor general, do you think people in the south are more racist than people in the north? it's questions like that that made it clear that chief justice roberts thinks the law is out of date. the other key vote, justice kennedy expressed the same concerns. the marshall plan was a great idea at the time it passed. it's backward looking. not taking enough account of where things stand now. >> pete, what about the fact that many people believe there was rampant voter suppression to try to keep minorities from voting? does that have any impact of that argument about efforts to stop african-americans from voting because of republican legislatures, republican state
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capitals who were concerned about more democratic votes? >> reporter: it cuts both way. the supporters say a-ha. it's why we need the preclearance effort. strict voter id laws in texas and south carolina. opponents of the law say the similar restrictions were challenged using another part of the law that doesn't require the states to get permission in advance. they can sue them if they think they are discriminating. >> thank you very much, pete williams. we'll have more on this from naacp coming up. meanwhile, in capitol hill today, senator dianne feinstein told us she was determined to push ahead with her gun legislation but acknowledged it's going to be an up hill fight. it was on display when milwaukee's police chief got into an argument over background checks with lind kay graham. >> from my point of view -- >> how many cases have you made?
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>> it doesn't matter. it's a paper thing. i want to stop -- i want to finish the answer. >> no. >> i want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. it's what a background check does. paperwork prosecutions you are wrong. >> no expressions one way or another. let's keep it civil. senator graham and i just got recognized for civility. i know he'll keep it civil. >> joining me now chris cillizza. chris, that exchange was very, very tough, but the rest of the heari hearing included witnesses from newtown. we saw a bit of that earlier. here is another part of the emotional testimony that brought tears to dianne feinstein. >> say good-bye, i love you. he stopped and said i love mom,
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too. that was the last i saw of jesse as he ducked around the corner. prior to that, when he was getting out of the truck, he hugged me and held me. i can still feel that hug. he said everything will be okay, dad. it's all going to be okay. and it wasn't okay. >> it was really hard to keep it together watching the pain from this parent. i mean he is a gun owner. he bought last year a b.b. gun for his son, trained him on gun safety. he's not against the second amendment. that's another part of his testimony. chris, you have been writing about this. you have seen our poll that shows 61% of americans favor some change in gun laws. this is a real tribute, i would say to the white house speaking
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out, the president's leadership on this. >> i'll say on a personal note as a dad of two little boys, it's very hard to watch that and all of these things as these people in very publicly cope with loss. it's putting the politics aside. you are right. the nbc poll, you have 6 in 10 people say they would like to see more strict gun laws put in place. it is a change from what we have seen in the past which tends to be the favorite option. to keep and enforce the laws on the books. making gun laws more strict places second in terms of popularity and loosening gun laws. there is a change. at the same time, you mention this at the start of this segment, andrea. even people who, like dianne feinstein, her life has been personally touched by gun violence. president obama and vice
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president joe biden have a lot of skin in the game have acknowledged for weeks and months, we are not likely to see a comprehensive package pass through congress that curbs gun violence. magazine clips, possibly. broadening background checks, possibly. assault weapons ban, no. as you see the heart wrenching moments and you see the polling, the reality in the halls of congress does still look different. >> we should point out that these are national numbers. when you get to votes in congress, you have to look at the districts which tend to be more dominated one side or the other. >> that's right. >> i asked them to drill down on the numbers. 69% of women versus say% of men want stricter gun laws. finally, on this subject, mayor
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bloomberg's pack, the gun law change pack has had an impact. this is the special election in chicago to replace jesse jackson. robin kelly defeated debby hagelston who had an "a" rating from the nra. >> a lot of things happened in this race, including one of the top candidates dropping out and endorsing robin kelly. michael bloomberg's pack, a superpack he funds through his own personal wealth spent $2.2 million. lots of it in ads pointing out, as you did, her "a" rating with the nra. promoting robin kelly as the gun control candidate in the race. kelly spend $300,000. halverson, $200,000. you can see how much impact michael broomberg can have in a
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house race. >> thank you very much, chris cillizza. john boehner used colorful language to describe what he hopes the senate will do with the sequester. today, it was harry reid's chance to respond. >> speaker boehner made harsh accusations, i'm not going to repeat them here on the senate floor. he thinks the senate isn't moving quickly enough to avert the sequester. the speak's charge is weak sauce, mr. president. >> weak sauce. joining me now is robert gibbs. former white house press secretary to president obama. weak sauce, what do we say about that? >> i think you can see, we are in the -- if you were landing an airplane, we are in the final decent here. i think there seems to be nothing on the horizon that would overt the cuts. the president is not going to move off of the idea that these
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cuts should be replaced by a balance of entitlements and spending cuts. i see nothing that would demonstrate that republicans are ready to make those cuts more balanced and talk about revenue in addition to spending cuts. i thought the most interesting and colorful quote wasn't speaker boners, but senator ron johnson from wisconsin who said if speaker boehner were to overt the sequester cuts by using and agreeing to additional revenue, he would lose his job as speaker of the house. i think that's more lust rative of where the republican party is at this point. they, in effect need the cuts to go into effect in order to get some, you know, something from their political base. >> clearly, in our poll, republicans are in terrible shape politically. both sides are losing latitude
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here. the president as well. 51% are less confident in the economy. if the economy goes bad, the white house will suffer as well. >> the poll shows anybody involved in this argument and debate in washington is going to come out with some amount of mud on their shirt and clothes. i think it's -- i think it's what everybody assumes. you mentioned the republicans go into this with a weak hand to play. but, again, i think we are at a point in which each side is going to play out the cards they have in their hand and see what happens next. i think we are stuck. >> why meet on march 1st, the day it's supposed to kick in? why is that the first day the president and leadership are going to meet face-to-face? >> it will be an opportunity to begin the discussion of how we are going to get out of this. we are not going to get out of it before it goes into effect. is it going to go a week, two weeks, one month, two months
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before we decide we need to replace it with something more balanced or a different set of cuts that aren't so arbitrary and hit so many things that are crucial and important. the problem, again, from the republican standpoint with their message, you mentioned this in the poll, republicans say it will hurt the economy and our military readiness and should go through. just from a message structure, it's a very incoherent, incongruent message to sell. these are bad, but we have to have them. >> what about the report in a book where he's revisited this in columns that the president agreed to the sequester, both sides -- congress voted on it, overwhelmingly, republicans voted for it. it's cuts not cuts and revenue. it was never contemplated that taxes would be back in this mix. >> i can't imagine -- look, i'm not going to get into the food fight on this, i think it
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demonstrates -- look, it didn't matter how we got here, we are here. i would say, i don't think anybody that's watched president obama for quite honestly the last, you know, five years going back to running for president has thought that we should not go about getting our fiscal house in order through a series of things that include less spending and more revenue. they balanced the approach. if you were to do a word count in the white house, you break the google. >> break the google. thank you very much. robert gibbs. >> thank you. >> nbc and msnbc analyst and former white house press secretary. now, up next, a tough go today for the voting rights act. we'll have more on that from the head of the naacp legal defense. today's supreme court arguments, revisiting the civil rights era. still ahead, farewell pope
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benedict. our live report from rome. you are watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. time for the "your business" entrepreneurs of the week. new york firefighters scottedwards and tim saw their entrepreneurial dreams crushed when hurricane sandy destroyed their store. our business makeover team advanced and now they are back open for business. for more, watch yourself sunday morning on msnbc. ♪ some people will do anything to help eliminate litter box odor. ♪ discover tidy cats pure nature. clumping litter with natural cedar, pine, and corn.
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we asked for recognition that we cover all jurisdictions and made great strides over the last 48 years. i was 24 years old when we came under section v. i'm 73 last weekend. we are under the same form, none of which applied for many, many years. >> the shelby county attorney after his arguments to a supreme court where the justices seem to be signaling skepticism about the 1965 voting act. we are joined by the new president of the naacps legal defense fund arguing this case.
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it is not looking good, at least, if one can read the tea leaves based on today's arguments. let me hear your response. >> i didn't argue the case, one of our great lawyers argued. >> aware of that. >> we were not at all discouraged by the argument today. i think it was a very rigorous argument. i think the shelby county attorney would have to say he was grilled heavily as well, as it should be. this is a serious matter. when the court heard the case in 2008, the court engaged in rigorous questioning. we were not put off by that. what we were thrilled to hear is that all of the members of the court who addressed the issue seem to be clear that shelby county, alabama has not made the kind of progress that allows it to come out from the voting right act. we heard the justices express concerns about whether it or congress is in the best position to determine whether
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discrimination in voting changed to warrant the continuation of the act. >> at this stage, we have been talking a lot about section v, what about section iv and the other voting acts? >> what was at issue was section ivb, the formula section v is implemented. it's the formula that says which jurisdictions are covered by section v. the court's most contentious questions were about that, the decision congress made to continue covering the same jurisdictions it had covered and whether it was appropriate. of course it's important to remember that that coverage formula is not static. there is, in the statute, a formula that allows jurisdictions to bail out. if they have a clean voting record, they can get out. every jurisdiction that utilized
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this process has been allowed to bail out of section v. it's not static. they can bail in. that is jurisdiction that is violated the constitution can be brought under section five. this is a statute where congress sent out a theme and also imagine that some would be uncovered in the future and some not currently covered might become covered one day. >> let's take a hypothetical, which is not a hypothetical considering what happened in 2012. say a state or a county tries to prevent minorities from voting by changing the hours, by basically voter suppression, how does that relate to their standing under the voting rights act? >> well, this is why section v is so valuable. you know, when a jurisdiction in alaska attempted to move a polling place before an election from a native alaskan village to a location that required them to
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take either a plane or a boat to vote, it was section v. the requirement to submit that voting change to the justice department that enabled them to stop the jurisdiction from enacting that change. the city of killmichael in mississippi realized blacks were the majority of the population, they decided to cancel the election. the justice department said you have to continue holding elections. the towne elected their first african-american mayor and three aldermen. it's all the work of section v. it stops the discrimination before it's implemented. >> when chief justice roberts asked the attorneys today which states, theoretically have a better record, he came up with a record of mississippi having a better record than massachusetts. what is the back story there?
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>> the record he's referring to is registration comparing whites and blacks and turnout between whites and blacks. this is not 1965. the only indicators of voting discrimination are not voting registration and turnout. i described polling place changes. a city in shelby county, the party bringing the case, the jurisdiction decided to reduce the black population from 70% to 29%. it's not about registration or turnout. it's voting discrimination using redistricting, cancelling elections. that data is not the data that justice roberts was presenting. he limited his presentation to the narrow registration turnout. section v in 1965 they said we are doing this because we can't predict what voting discrimination will look like in the future. we want to cover all the
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ingenious method that is might be used. they created section v. >> precisely because you can't imagine what steps people will take to try to prevent people from voting in the future. professor, thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you, andrea. coming up next, secretary kerry arrives in rome to meet with syrian rebels tomorrow. what's he going to offer them? more details ahead.
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it went just be humanitarian. more communications gear, could be body armor. >> it's body armor, not armor. >> what they are talking about doing, what kerry is saying he's going to try to do is change the call callus. assad seems to have his own reality base. he's reigning skuds down. it's horrified the west, everyone except perhaps russia. >> most military experts agree if the west wanted to help, they would impose a no-fly zone, not allow syrian helicopters to bomb. >> the white house isn't there yet. >> the president is defiantly not there. he seems to see syria -- he might not be wrong. he sees it as insoluble. you can't solve it. the american public is not interested.
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you see this in poll after poll. they are not interested in getting deeper into it than we already are. there's no pressure on the administration except from the syrian rebels to do anything. >> and from john mccain and former senator kerry. and others. he wasn't as forward leaning as mccain and others. in the senate we are arguing we had to rethink this. hillary clinton and leon panetta and chairman dempsey and others argued and the president rejected it. >> that's the governoring reality. john kerry wants to do x, y and z but he works for the president now. i don't think you are going to see that much different. you are going to see the seron rebels getting something from america where they used to get nothing. it's not necessarily going to change the calculus.
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>> it's going to be more money and through non-governmental organizations. >> the other interesting question is, is it too late to affect the make up of the opposition? the islamists, the al qaeda affiliated groups have been getting lot of weapons through turkey, through saudi arabia. they are very powerful in that coalition. we spent two years not supporting the sort of people we would like to see take over syria. so, it might be too late on that front as well. >> we saw the opposition leaders know they have a lot of leverage. they said they weren't going to show up. kerry called them and said show up, i'll have something for you. it's something tangible. not as much as they want. the other big story is iran. they agreed to technical talks. as you follow this very closely,
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israeli leader benjamin netanyahu said we have to think military sanctions. what does he mean? >> it's a linguistic trick. he talked about being in a red zone, not crossing a red line, but being in a red zone. what he's doing is preparing president obama for the thing that netanyahu is going to ask the president when he visits israel. >> what is that? >> he's going to say to him, okay, you say you are against containment, you are stopping iran. we know iran is getting this much closer. may and june looks like a good time for you to take some sort of action. netanyahu is going to steer in that direction. obama is going to say, as he said before, give me time. i have this but give me time. >> the american intelligence analysis of what happened with
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the u.n. inspections is there is more time. >> on the other hand, they are moving centrifuges into place where they could move the pile to move quickly toward a bond. there's contradictory things. the u.s. has capabilities to deal with this very late stage in the game. again, we are back to where we were last year. it's going to be obama trying to convince netanyahu not to do anything because the united states has it. >> the new secretary of state feeling his way in terms of the relationship. >> a newer secretary of defense who is going to be deeply involved in this. >> perless times. thank you very much. up next, thousands turn out to hear pope benedicts final message. we are live from rome. political peril from both sides of the sequester.
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those automatic spending cuts are all but inevitable now. americans appear ready to spread the blame around. congresswoman debby wasserman schultz, you are only a day or two away from the deadline. why isn't anybody meeting until march 1st. whey is the first time the president is going to get together the day the sequester hits. >> what i'm wondering and my constituents are wondering, why is it the leaders of the republican party in congress are not sitting down with our leadership to avoid these dramatic cuts. it is entirely within congress' power to replace the sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. we don't need the president. the president has a proposal. it's on white or we
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can sit down like grown ups and make sure we generate revenue closing loopholes that protect the wealthiest of americans and make targeted spending cuts. it's how the american people want us to reduce the deficit. your poll show that is today. >> the nbc news/wall street journal poll shows attacks on both houses while republicans are certainly held in less high regard, that people are frustrated with both political parties with the whole mess. it's affecting the president's rating. he's still at 50%. it's affecting consumer confidence, the wrong track/right track numbers are getting worse. i mean nobody is happy with what's going on in washington. >> no, least of all the president and congressional democrats. i think the question in that poll is telling that when
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americans were asked do you support the republican approach to spending, 75% of respondents said no, they don't. what the american people have spoken on is they want to reduce the deficit. we want to continue the focus on turning the economy around and creating jobs and make sure the recovery can be more ro robust. they don't want us to take a slash and burn approach to cutting our way back to prosperity. it's not the answer. they don't want 70,000 kids to get kicked off head start in the name of protecting tax breaks for oil companies and people who own corporate jets. >> is the friday meeting just a photo-op? >> no. the friday meet sg the president's legitimate attempt to bring the two sides together. he's repeatedly said the congre congressional leadership should
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sit down together. we are waiting for the republicans to join us. it doesn't have to be this way, andrea. we have the opportunity to sit down and put away the my way or the highway politics. the democrats are willing to support spending cuts that don't cut the heart from our recovery. we are insistent on making sure we close tax loopholes that protect the wealthiest that they don't need to make sure we have a responsible approach. the republicans are actually going to allow the sequester to occur. they are suggesting giving our responsibility to the president which would mean nameless, faceless bureaucrats would decide on the spending cuts as opposed to members of congress like me who were elected by our constituents. you have to see the wizard and grow some courage. >> thank you very much. congresswoman debby wasserman
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schultz, thanks. 150,000 people gathered on st. peter's square. anne thompson is live from the vatican. ann, the message that the pope delivered was unusually personal. tell me about what he said. it must have been an extraordinary day. >> reporter: it really was, andrea. it was an extremely personal message from this reserved man. pope benedict spoke to the crowd ability his eight years as pontiff. he described the papacy as a great weight. the pope doesn't have privacy. every moment of his life is someone else's. he compared it to the story of st. peter on the boat in the sea of galley and the storm comes up and he said when the seas got rough and the high winds came he
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said sometimes he felt like st. peter in the boat. he told the crowd that he felt like the lord was sleeping. that was an extraordinary admission, i think, from the leader of the catholic church. it was a deeply moving sermon. many people in the crowd felt very touched by what he had to say. the people who came today, they came to see history. they came to support him to say yes, we believe that you have done the right thing by stepping down because he is the first pope in 600 years to step down from the papacy. this has put the catholic church into unchartered territory. andrea? >> as you have been speaking, pictures from today of him kissing children, of babies being brought to him. we see he's in the pope mobile as well. what is going to happen tomorrow? take us through the choreography as he takes the helicopter ride to his summer home while his
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retirement home is being completed. will we see him tomorrow? is there another address? >> reporter: yes, we are going to see him. he's going to meet with the cardinals here, about 100 of them have come to rome to say good-bye to him. he will meet with them. that will happen in each cardinal will go up to the pope and have a few seconds, really, with him to say a few words. that will happen and then at 5:00 tomorrow afternoon, he will get, he will be driven to the helipad here in vatican city and fly to the castle. it's not a long flight, about ten minutes. at 8:00, he becomes pope ameritus. >> watching all this unfold. >> reporter: it's amazing. >> i know, we all wish we where
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we renew old alliances. we reach out and find new alliances based on the common interest of people. there will be differences. we have great power and how we apply our power is particularly important. that engagement in the world should be done wisely. >> defense secretary chuck hagel on his first day on the job. did the bruising confirmation battle hurt him in the pentagon? an opponent to hagel. thanks for joining us today. >> glad to be with you, thank you. >> now that he's sworn in, what would you like to see as you monitor how he does at the pentagon? >> you know, let me say this, andrea, i view this as yesterday's story.
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we made a good case that this was a flawed candidate. he's my secretary and yours. i wish him well. as a matter of fact, the first thing i want to do under sequestration is give the secretary of defense and the president of the united states the flexibility under the overall cap to move money around and make the sequestration cuts as painless and less disruptive as possible. >> well, do you think that the confirmation battle weakened him and do you have any regrets about the way that confirmation battle was undertaken by his critics? >> i think we made an honorable case. i still believe his pronouncements and positions over time put him way outside the bipartisan foreign policy mainstream but the president was able to hold his democratic votes, even among people who
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would tell me one-on-one that they had real concerns. the president was able to hold his votes. senator hagel was confirmed and now i wish him well. i hope he's a very, very succ s successful secretary. >> shouldn't the critics have checked their facts first before asking if he deposited money in group that is didn't exist? wasn't there a lot of red baiting and other kinds of, really unfair questions asked in a public forum. >> i'll let people characterize those. i think i asked some very serious and substantive questions about his positions on iran, his positions with regard to israel. i know there were a lot of friends with israel in the juish and christian communities that were concerned about that.
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so, for my part, i thought most of the debate, almost all of it was appropriate and quite frankly showed real flaws. andrea, i'm moving on from that. i want this secretary to have a good department of defense and to have the flexibility pursuant to votes today and tomorrow to make those across the board sequestration cuts less harmful. >> the new secretary of state promised the syrian opposition leaders they would get more help and persuaded them to come meet him tomorrow. how much should we be
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>> islamists have now having infiltrated the opposition movement. >> that's always a concern, yes. no question it's a concern, but this has gone on too long. the assad regime needs to fall because assad needs to leave and
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i think skmoer more they are coming to that conclusion. we can use the power and influence we have with the state department and taking the advice of the professionals in the pentagon to do just that. >> senator, thank you very much. thanks for being with us. >> thank you very much. >> and what political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? that's next here on "andrea mitchell reports". red what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
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which political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours. chris is back with us now. we have 48 hours to go and they will not even meet until friday. the sequester lies ahead. >> i feel like we should call this the 48 instead of the next 24. on tuesday the president sets up a meeting on friday when the deadline is at midnight. you get a sense that the sequester is going to kick in at least for a few days. do they do a stop thing to push
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it back or avert the consequences? maybe. i still think it goes into effect and sometime in mid-to late march as they continue a resolution to fund the government comes up. we could be looking at a government shut down and that's when they get more serious. >> part of the moment, i don't know what more serious means. sitting down at a table together. >> or's least saying hello. thank you, chris that. does it for "andrea mitchell reports." tomorrow pope benedict xvi's final goodbye in rome. we will talk with secretary shawn donovan about sequester and sandy relief. tamron hall has i has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> the latest from the supreme court as they challenge the voting rights act. justice scalia said it's a perpetuation of racial entitlement. justice kennedy said it secures
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the purpose. the law could be in trouble. we will have the latest from both sides. he is angry at him and despite being one of the most popular organizers and has not seen her in a party. >> the president will meet with the sequester and senator mitch be mcconnell. friday, the same day the cuts will set. oons, and noodles on spoons. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's. a wand, some wings, soup with good things. sidewalks and doodles and wholesome noodles. puddles and pails and yes, puppy dog tails. for a lunch like this, there's a hug and a kiss. because that's what happy kids are made of. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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